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Jackson in Action: case law

In our regular monthly round up of cases we look at the effects of the changes to the Civil Procedure Rules under the Jackson Reforms:

Relief from sanctions/failure to attend hearing: In Home Group Ltd v Matrejek (2015) Sweeney J sitting in the Queen’s Bench Division held that a judge had been entitled to grant relief and reinstate a possession claim which he had previously dismissed due to the party's failure to attend a directions hearing. The party had not attended as they had genuinely believed that the matter would not be dealt with at the directions hearing. Held that, whilst the failure was deliberate, there was no prejudice to the defendant and relief should be granted.

Relief from sanctions/failure to file appeal bundle: In Davis Solicitors LLP v Raja & Anor (2015) it was held that a judge had been entitled to refuse to grant a solicitors firm relief from sanctions. Sitting in the Queen’s Bench Division, Supperstone J concluded that the firm’s failure to comply with CPR PD 52 B and an unless order was serious and significant and no good reason had been advanced for the failure. It was also held that the judge was entitled to consider the merits of the appeal and it was noted that there was still a failure to comply by the time of the hearing of the application for relief from sanctions.

The following are cases where the court had regard to the test in Mitchell and/or Denton, notwithstanding the fact that they were not applications for relief from sanctions per se:

Relief from sanctions regime/failure to serve Scott Schedule: In Landmarck Investments Ltd & Anor v Dome Co Cleaning Services (2015) it was held by Lewis J that a judge had been entitled to strike out the defence in claims in debt for unpaid invoices for failure to comply with an order to serve a Scott schedule, where the consequences of the default were significant due to the proximity of the trial and where there were no good reasons for the failure to comply.

Relief from sanctions regime/resiling from an admission: In Moore v Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (2015) it had been reasonable for a master to allowing a hospital trust to withdraw pre-action admissions on the basis that it had made a genuine mistake. Judge Bidder QC held sitting in the Queen’s Bench Division that, whilst it was correct to consider CPR r.3.9 the trust should be allowed to resile from their admission as they had made a genuine mistake and the balance of prejudice and the interests of the administration of justice supported withdrawing the admissions.

Relief from sanctions regime/application to set aside default judgment: In Avanesov v Too Shymkentpivo (2015) Popplewell J, sitting in the Commercial Court refused to set aside judgments for the total sum of around $11 million after concluding that the delay in making the application to set aside judgment was the result of a conscious decision to ignore the proceedings and judgments until faced with the risk of enforcement. The application had not been made promptly and the delay in making the application was serious. The Judge observed that an application under CPR r.13.3 was an application for relief from sanctions to which CPR r.3.9 applied.

By Marcus Davies

This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.